Spot of tennis, Nathan?

About 12 years ago or so, around the time when I was in Japan, I remember plucking up the courage to give Nathan Gill a call, to spill my spiritual beans and try to get some help. I’d written to him after reading his book Clarity, and felt close enough to him, and fraught enough to get in touch.  I don’t remember the whole conversation, but I do recall very clearly the feel of it.  I’d been talking to him about how intense and painful my seeking was, how trapped in it I felt, with this constant feeling of anxiety which rubbed up against another feeling of things actually all being okay.  And then, as I was speaking, something repositioned in me temporarily, and I found myself saying something new.

“I suppose,” I said, “perhaps just feeling anxious in itself, isn’t all that bad, really, is it.”

And he said to me, “Well, Jamie, when you start seeing things like that, it’s really the beginning of the end.”

We talked a bit more, and he asked me about my hobbies, and I told him I loved tennis and had spent my whole childhood playing the sport.

“In the end, mate,” he went on, “it’ll be the tennis that is more important to you than any of this stuff.  Really, for me, the only change is that things can get a bit boring after all this seeking stops.  You’ll get back to your tennis, you’ll see.”

(Nathan Gill, 1960 – 2014)

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